Central Jersey Waste delivers its food waste from Princeton and other clients to six separate sites in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but the site where Princeton’s food waste is being taken for composting has not been made public because the company is currently negotiating a new contract with a composting facility, a top Princeton official said today.
Last October, officials in Delaware shut down the largest industrial composting site on the East Coast near the Port of Wilmington because of widespread odor complaints, stockpiling problems, and fire risks. The composting site was used by businesses and municipalities from New York to Washington DC, including Princeton. Many residents wondered where Princeton’s food waste was being taken after the facility was closed.
“When we get the information from Central Jersey Waste we will gladly share it,” Princeton Administrator Marc Dashield said today, adding that he hopes to have the information in the next few days.
Representatives from Central Jersey Waste will not disclose where the food waste is currently being taken because they say that making that information public could adversely affect the bids for a new contract, increasing the price.
“The food waste composting business is apparently very competitive,” Dashield said.
Princeton University also has a contract with Central Jersey Waste for food waste recycling.
Between 1993 and 2013, food waste from campus dining was transported by a local pig farmer who sanitized the waste and used it as livestock feed, a Princeton University spokesman said. After that, Central Jersey transported the school’s waste to the composting facility in Delaware.
“Since then, Central Jersey has transported waste to two farm locations near Jackson, New Jersey, where the waste is composted,” Princeton University Spokesman Martin Mbugua said.
On Jan. 29, Planet Princeton asked the town’s recycling coordinator where the municipality’s food waste has been taken since the closure of the plant and was told the information would be made public at a later date. Planet Princeton has since filed a public records request regarding the issue.
The only New Jersey food waste recycling facility approved for residential food waste by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is the Ag Choice farm in Sussex County. The pig farm, located in Andover, is currently recycling food waste through a state research, development and demonstration approval. Several other food waste composting facilities that would handle residential food waste (some existing facilities are licensed only accept industrial food waste) are expected to open in New Jersey later this year. Numerous composting facilities are located in Pennsylvania, according to a state list.
Princeton’s food waste recycling program was launched in 2011.Residents fill bins with food and organic waste, including everything from fish bones to pizza boxes, kitchen trimmings and plate waste.
The program was promoted as a way to save money for the town due to increased recycling rates and lower trash dumping fees, while turning the waste into a usable product. About 860 Princeton households participated in the program in 2014. Residents pay an annual fee to participate in the program. The contract for 2014 ran through January of 2015.
Princeton’s trash and recycling are both picked up by Central Jersey Waste, which is based in Ewing. Food waste is picked up by Premier Food Waste Recycling, a subsidiary of Central Jersey Waste. In March of 2014, Central Jersey Waste and Premier were bought by the Synergy Environmental Corporation, an affiliate of the Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group.